Kansas City Eminent Domain Lawyers

Fighting for Property Owners Throughout Missouri

Eminent domain is a rule protected by the U.S. Constitution that allows governments to seize private property—with proper compensation—for public use. Rules regarding when eminent domain may be used are relatively broad and generally left up to the interpretation of each state. Unsurprisingly, this leads to many disputes between property owners and condemning agencies.

At Potts Law Firm, we proudly stand up for the rights of private property owners throughout Missouri. From our office in Kansas City, our eminent domain attorneys assist clients in all types of cases, including inverse condemnation and disputes regarding fair market value, fair public use, and other issues. If you need help with an eminent domain or condemnation-related matter, reach out to our firm right away to speak to an experienced eminent domain lawyer.

Contact us online or by phone at (816) 312-5125 to get started with a free initial consultation.

What Is Eminent Domain?

Eminent domain is the right of the government—federal, state, or local—to seize private property for “fair public use,” as long as the government provides the property owner with “just compensation.” The process of seizing private property is known as condemnation.

For eminent domain to be lawful, it must meet the following three requirements:

  • The acquired private property must be seized for public use, purpose, or good
  • The private property owner must be “justly compensated” for the property
  • The private property owner is entitled to due process of law in the seizure of their property

The two most-contested issues in eminent domain disputes are the issues of “fair public use” and “just compensation.” If a condemning agency fails to offer the property owner the true fair market value of the property, the property owner can initiate what is known as inverse condemnation. This process allows the property owner to seek the actual fair market value of the property.

The property owner can also contest eminent domain or condemnation proceedings if the acquired property is not taken for public use. Sometimes, government agencies seize private property for poorly thought-out public works projects that never materialize; at Potts Law Firm, we are committed to protecting the rights of property owners and ensuring that their voices are heard.

Examples of Public Use

To lawfully seize private property, a government must not only pay the private property owner the fair market value of the property but must also intend to use the property for “public use.” Historically, private property has been seized by the government for all types of public works projects.

Some examples include:

  • Bridges
  • Highways
  • Roads
  • Parks
  • Schools
  • Utilities
  • Public transportation infrastructure

In modern times, the concept of “public use” has been expanded to include certain private commercial uses intended to remove “blight.” Blight refers to areas of a city or municipality that have fallen into disrepair. When an area is considered “blighted,” the government may exercise eminent domain to seize property within the blighted area for economic development, including both public use and private commercial use.

The concept of blight is very complex. It is up to state agencies to determine when an area has become blighted. This often gives rise to eminent domain disputes and inverse condemnation proceedings in areas deemed “blighted.”

Request a Free Consultation with Our Kansas City Team Today

If you are facing eminent domain proceedings, or if your property has been condemned by a government agency, reach out to Potts Law Firm right away to learn how our team can protect your rights. We offer complimentary consultations and personalized representation throughout the legal process. Our experienced attorneys will provide consistent communication, answers, and updates as they handle your case. We are committed to fighting for you, even if that means going to trial.

Call (816) 312-5125 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.

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Understanding “Just” Compensation

In Missouri, “just compensation” in eminent domain proceedings is ascertained based on the “fair market value” of the acquired property. When the condemning agency only seizes a portion of the property, rather than the property in full, the property owner can also receive consequential damages to the remaining property. Rather than merely being compensated for the existing use of the property, the property owner is entitled to compensation for the “highest and best use of the property.” Missouri also recognizes two situations in which a property owner may claim additional compensation above and beyond the fair market value of the property:

  • Heritage Value: If an acquired property has been owned by the same family for more than 50 years, the property owner may be entitled to an additional 50% above the fair market value of the property. This 50% bonus must be awarded when the entire property is seized under eminent domain; when only part of the property is seized, the 50% bonus may be granted depending on the specific circumstances involved.
  • Homestead Value: If the condemned property is the primary residence of the property owner, the property owner could be entitled to an additional 25% above the fair market value of the property. When only a portion of the property is seized, this 25% bonus only applies when the acquired portion is within 300 feet of the primary residence and the property owner can prove that the seizure prevents them from substantially utilizing the property.

At Potts Law Firm, we are committed to protecting our clients’ rights. We want to make sure that you are truly compensated fairly when the government condemns your property. Our Kansas City eminent domain attorneys understand the law and know how to navigate the legal process with your best interests in mind.


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